The tunnel kiln outside of Pottery Place mall on Old West Main Street has been named one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Properties in Minnesota for 2005.
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota released its 13th annual listing of endangered sites today.
The Minnesota Stoneware Co. kiln is "an overlooked and neglected building," according to the alliance. "But it is a notable remnant of Red Wing's historic pottery industry with a fascinating story to tell."
From the 1920s until the 1960s, fires blazed every day inside the 300-foot kiln. "Rail cars holding unfinished pottery would slowly pass through the flames, taking as many as 80 hours to emerge from the kiln with the finished product ready for shipping," the organization said.
The tunnel kiln is part of a complex of Minnesota Stoneware Co. buildings that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The main four-story building has been preserved and is used now for retail.
"However," the alliance pointed out, "the buildings that once housed the kiln have been demolished. Today the brick structure is a poignant relic
exposed to the elements and surrounded by a parking lot, threatened by deterioration and demolition."
The alliance suggested that some effort be made to perhaps integrate the historic aspect of the company into daily tours of the modern facility.
The other nine properties on the 2005 list:
Fort Snelling Upper Bluffs complex, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Agate Bay, a natural port on Lake Superior's North Shore at Two Harbors; Jacob Schmidt Brewery, St. Paul; Wilkommen Park Pavilion in Norwood Young America; St. Anthony Falls Historic District, Minneapolis; Graves Farm, Sauk Rapids; Roseau City Hall, Roseau; Julian A. Weaver house, Granite Falls; and "Cap" Emmons Auditorium, Albert Lea.